Lawyers can learn from entrepreneurs with workcations Marci Taylor
Let’s face it. To be successful as a lawyer, even in the largest, most corporate of law firms, requires an entrepreneurial mindset. To approach a successful law practice in 2020 with an employee mindset is a sure step to mediocrity. But how do you have time to create, plan, envision when your phone keeps ringing, emails and texts keep binging and associates and staff require constant attention?
For years, law firms invested significantly in elaborate retreats – lawyers in conference rooms listening to speakers (some inspiring, some not), financial reporting from the year before and talk of strategic plans for the future. In recent years, retreats have been eliminated or scaled back significantly. While many acknowledge the value of getting together, particularly for multi-office firms, for purposes of camaraderie and developing internal relationships, most admit that traditional retreats result in lots of “rah-rah” but little in the way of solid business strategies that are executed once folks return to the office.
Enter the workcation. As a new generation of law firm leaders arise, some are looking to the example of entrepreneurs in other industries for a means of unplugging and having some meaningful time to discuss, plan and perhaps even innovate.
Generally taking place in remote locations with limited tech, workcations offer the opportunity to get away from distractions and focus on key elements of building your business. Providing more than just the cool Instagram shot (although those happen, too), these smaller, more intimate retreats of today provide law firm leaders the opportunity to have candid dialogue, make realistic assessments of business decisions and think creatively about service delivery, marketing strategies and improving the bottom line.
Executive committees, practice/department leadership and industry teams have had retreats in the past, but stiff martinis in golf clubs are giving way to hikes with scenic vistas, mountain bike rides and yes, even some yoga. Large conference rooms are increasingly viewed as less effective than the small group, more intimate conversations that occur when lawyers take the opportunity to get together in a workcation setting.
As law firm leadership continues to evolve with the ongoing succession of generations, so too will the ways law firm management plans for the future. So, when you consider your 2020 budget for business planning, look to what leaders of high-growth companies prefer – the workcation. Even if you still call it a retreat.
Marci Taylor provides strategy, management and marketing services to professional services firms and high-growth companies through her firm Mantra Legal Consulting. She has facilitated over 100 law firm retreats and welcomes her clients to Sedona, Arizona for retreats and workcations as well as extended remote working opportunities for lawyers and entrepreneurs through RemoteWell.